For so long the darling of yummy mummies, Johnnie Boden and his clothes wear business have been having rather a rough year in the press and on Internet forums. In the Spring it was being questioned whether Boden offered value for money in these recessionary times and there were suggestions of smugness. He is now having to deal with the apparent furore that has arisen over the use of Helena Christensen as a model in Boden's winter catalogue.
I wonder if I am the only fifty something year old male who was left scratching his thinning thatch and questioning who this model is that can have so many women of an indeterminate age quite so incensed. (Apparently she is a well known forty three year old Danish Model and mother of one!.)
Johnnie seems to agree with me. He is reported as saying, "that women prefer to see models who look attractive in our clothes." That is common sense to me. After the functional considerations have been taken account of, clothes shopping, for both males and females, involves a great big dollop of aspiration. We want to look good, or at the very least presentable.
A lot of Boden's success and it has been a success with the last annual accounts showing a profit of £32.5M on a turnover of £232M, has been based on the essential homeliness that the brand has successfully evoked. It is unashamedly middle class. When one thinks of Boden one does tend to think of bicycles with wicker baskets, the famous five and and drinking oodles of ginger beer on long summer afternoons beside the croquet lawn. Maybe that is why Johnny Boden has engaged Ms Christensen. Maybe he thinks that she will add a little edginess to his brand and help profits.
I think that I will write a personal note to Johnnie and suggest that his new model should try on some of the menswear for the next catalogue. That just might persuade me to add a new colour to my selection of Boden Old School Shirts.